Do not become a fraudster victim, whitelist yourself against SIM Swap
About a week ago the mainstream media reported of a case where a senior police officer lost more than Kshs 597 thousand to a fraudster. Although the nitty gritty details of the case do not make sense (for example how the fraudster was able to access the victim’s PIN number associated with his Equity Bank Account and MPESA – swapping a SIM card doesn’t give you those details), the fundamental issue is that SIM swap made it possible for the fraudster to gain control of the victim’s phone number.
SIM Swap for Safaricom numbers can happen in three main ways: 1. When a subscriber visits Safaricom care centre with his or her ID number 2. When a subscriber buys a replacement line then calls Safaricom customer care or contacts them via their official social media channels, or 2. When an authorised Safaricom SIM card dealer (usually MPESA agents) does the Swim swap. It is through this third method that fraudsters use to take control of other people’s numbers. This is because some of the authorised dealers collude with the fraudsters so that they perform the Swim swap without considerations for IDs or ther official identification documents.
Once a SIM swap has been done, and assuming the fraudster has access to the subscriber’s MPESA PIN and other bank details, the fraudster transfers money from the subscriber’s accounts to his/her own accounts. The frauder also takes advantage of the line by borrowing money from fuliza, Mshwari, or any other easy to access mobile money loans, then after he is done sweeping clean the accounts of the victim, he dumps the line, leaving the victim with debts and stress.
To prevent frauders from easily swapping your SIM card, Safaricom has come up with a whitelisting option where subscribers can whitelist their numbers such that the only way they can swap their SIM cards is either by visiting Safaricom shops with their IDs, or by contacting Safaricom care by dialing 100 or through their official social media channels. A subscriber whitelists his or her number simply by dialing *100*100# and that’s it. By dialing the short code, the subscriber’s number is instantly whitelisted. A successful whitelisting is confirmed immediately with this message, “Success. Your number can now only be replaced by visiting the nearest Safaricom Shop/Care Desk with your ID or by calling Safaricom customer care.”